Bidco is not fit to join UNDP’s project – UN

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices - OLIVER MATHENGE @Oliv­erMa­thenge

United Na­tions in­ves­ti­ga­tors have faulted a de­ci­sion invit­ing Bidco Ltd into part­ner­ship with the United Na­tions Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme’s – Busi­ness Call to Ac­tion – in Uganda.

In a draft re­port made pub­lic on No­vem­ber 8, the in­ves­ti­ga­tors said the al­le­ga­tions of Bidco’s en­gage­ment in hu­man rights, labour and en­vi­ron­men­tal vi­o­la­tions were not ad­e­quately as­sessed.

“Af­ter the field­work and ad­di­tional re­search, UN’s So­cial and En­vi­ron­men­tal Com­pli­ance Unit con­cluded that the pro­cesses em­ployed by UNDP for ad­mis­sion of Bidco were not con­sis­tent with UNDP poli­cies,” the draft Com­pli­ance Re­view re­port says.

The re­port warns that a part­ner­ship with Bidco “could ad­versely dam­age UNDP’s rep­u­ta­tion and the com­mu­ni­ties it seeks to help”.

The UN fur­ther ac­knowl­edges that er­rors were made in the as­sess­ment of Bidco as a part­ner.

“(UN) staff iden­ti­fied sev­eral im­por­tant risks – at least par­tially ful­fill­ing the re­quire­ment to as­sess risks – but did not clearly fol­low up in a sat­is­fac­tory way or char­ac­terise risks ac­cu­rately,” the re­port says.

It also in­di­cates the UN staff eval­u­at­ing Bidco did not pro­vide de­tails of the crit­i­cism, in­di­cate whether and, or, how UNDP staff eval­u­ated the con­tro­ver­sie “e.g., whether staff dis­cussed the con­tro­ver­sies with the com­pany or oth­ers, or in­di­cate how the con­tro­ver­sies had been, or would be, ad­dressed,” the re­port says.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors, how­ever, cau­tion that their re­port in no way im­plies that Bidco has, or has not, vi­o­lated hu­man rights or is com­plicit in hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions.

“Such a de­ter­mi­na­tion is be­yond the scope of this re­port, which is fo­cused pri­mar­ily on the ad­e­quacy of UNDP’s due dili­gence and re­lated trans­parency in the con­text of the BCtA (Busi­ness Call to Ac­tion) project,” the re­port says.

On Jan­uary 15 this year, Bidco Africa an­nounced it had joined BCtA.

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